Teddy was just nine months old when he was diagnosed with Acute myeloid leukaemia in early 2023. Having struggled through illness after illness with his symptoms worsening each time, Teddy ended up in hospital with pneumonia and on oxygen support, before blood tests revealed his devastating diagnosis.
Teddy was transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) the very next day and sent to theatre the same evening to have a Hickman line fitted and begin chemotherapy.
10 days of chemotherapy treatment followed, then a four to five week recovery period before a second, more intense round of chemotherapy and a further 6 to 8 weeks recovery. Teddy spent a large majority of this time in hospital, often extremely unwell from the side effects of his treatment.
Spread a Smile first met Teddy and his family at GOSH during his first round of chemotherapy.
Teddy’s Mum, Katie said, “It was such an intense time, with our lives turned upside down, living away from home whilst Teddy was in hospital. When we were on Elephant Ward, a Spread a Smile fairy came to visit Teddy in his room and sang nursery rhymes to him. He loved it and it was like a breath of fresh air.
“Since that first visit we made sure to see the Spread a Smile entertainers whenever they came in! It is extremely tedious being in hospital all day, trying to entertain a 9 month old, with nothing much to do. We looked forward to their visits, to see Teddy’s face light up and have something new to distract him. It was lovely for his Dad and I to just sit back and watch Teddy smile and clap along to the singing. 10 minutes of pure joy.
“Having been in hospital for such a long time, Teddy’s physical development was delayed, but his cognitive development has been brilliant thanks to the visits from the Spread a Smile fairies and musicians. They gave him something to focus on and learn from. To start with he would smile and clap to the songs, but the more we saw them, the more he would learn, copying all the actions to songs. It’s been really valuable to help stimulate his development.
“We’ve also loved the Therapy Dog visits as we have a dog at home, so whenever Teddy saw one of the Spread a Smile dogs, his face would just light up. He loved stroking them, giving them treats and rolling the ball to them. It was wonderful to watch.”
A bone marrow match was found in the Spring and Teddy received a bone marrow transplant at the end of June, after which he fell quite ill with sepsis.
“It was such a worrying time for us, with Teddy so unwell and being away from home. When Teddy first moved into his room on the transplant ward, his room was covered in mermaids and we wanted to try and make it feel more personal and a bit more like home. One of the hospital Play Specialists mentioned that there was a Spread a Smile artist, Marina, who could paint some murals especially for Teddy.
“When Marina came to see us, we talked about what Teddy would like. Teddy is our ‘Super Ted’ and so she painted his very own Super Ted on his window. It was an exciting and very special moment. We are on a journey of a lifetime and it feels like we are leaving our stamp on the room for others to enjoy, hopefully bringing some good luck. I feel like it represents our boy’s courage, strength and bravery, as well as the unconditional love we feel for him.
“Spread a Smile really is a wonderful charity and we witnessed so many children benefiting from the visits. For children (and their families) going through such traumatic experiences, Spread a Smile really does brighten up the day. They make you feel special during a very tough time, bringing out smiles which would otherwise be few and far between. It means a lot.”
Following his bone marrow transplant, Teddy turned a corner in early July, with the family hoping that discharge will soon follow.
Please help ensure we can continue to support children like Teddy and their families by donating today. Thank you.